Friday, October 31, 2008

Archeology Update

"Gog and Magog Uncovered"
Bible Archeologists Today
November, 2008 feature article

A major archeological discovery has been located in the tiny country of ChmlgTksv, located somewhere between modern day Iran and Greece. Cartographers say that it is hard to locate ChmlgTksv because it is the one country in the world that is not physically tied to any particular place (except, perhaps, Kurdistan), since its people are essentially nomadic and carry their possessions and wares upon their mules and move around whenever they get the urge to do so but never change their maps or their mailing address. This discovery was made in a small cave that one of the mules was carrying, the contents of which have been amazingly preserved by what appears to be an admixture of salt, carried airborne from the Dead Sea; ashes carried airborne from the eruption of Mount Vesupius; and small traces of goat dung carried airborne whenever goat-herder boys get bored and start playing the national sport of ChmlgTksv called "Harrph," which literally is translated, "throw goat dung at each other."

When researchers discovered the cave, they found it filled with what appears to have been items from an 8th century BC garage sale. "I mean, there was stuff there that didn't even work," said professor Tungsten Narrorpor of Cairo State University, "and they still were asking nine shekels for it! No wonder none of this stuff sold." Most of the items have been similarly deemed 'ancient near east worthless junk' by an international team of observers, adding that they could not definitively rule out the archeologists' traditional standby that all of it might have religious significance. "If so," said lead archeologist Cassandra Bishoper of Oxford Community College, "their gods and goddesses were pretty cheap and ugly, represented primarily by veneer and formica."

Among the items, however, was a surprise discovery that has the archeology world buzzing with excitement. Archeologist Ohmad bin Tekel of Fourth Sunni Mosque in Al-Katomu described it as a "total accident, but enormous find." It seems that one of the items- perhaps an 8th century BCE wedding present- was still in its gift box, and therein lay the most valuable find. "Whoever wrapped the present seemed to want to make it look larger than it was," according to professor Bishoper, "so they stuffed the box with lots of olde newspapers. And the olde newspapers were quite interesting."

[Editor's note: Subsequent to this comment, a dispute has arisen among the archeological community over the correct spelling of 'olde'. It seems that none of the archeologists outside of Great Britain sees the point in the final, silent 'e', but the Brits were so insistent that they threatened to make a fire with the newspapers until everyone agreed to keep the stupid 'e'.]

Most of the newspaper's contents were predictable ancient near east stuff: Weather reports, the goat and mule market reports, and an economist dismissing concerns about the harvesting of trees in the thick forests blanketing what is now the Sahara Desert. One column, however, seemed to be a community gossip page, which bore information that might help to solve one of the longest ongoing riddles of biblical history- the identification of Gog and Magog.

For years, biblical scholars in the Hebrew Bible, New Testament, and Qu'ranic traditions have been puzzled over the identity of Gog and Magog. In the book of Genesis, Magog seems to be a son of Japeth, grandson of Noah. In Ezekiel, Gog seems to be a prince of the land of Magog. In the book of Revelation, Gog and Magog are called 'nations from the four corners of the earth,' and seem to figure promiently into a major battle against heavenly forces. In the Qu'ran, Gog and Magog are a threatening people who are walled up in order to protect other peoples nearby.

Religious traditions have had difficulty identifying who, or perhaps even where, Gog and Magog were. Their names, however, have been fodder for quite a few speculations and are usually invoked to name one's enemies whom one would like to see doomed. In some Jewish traditions, Gog is the fallen angel in protection of the nation Magog. The 4th century Christian bishop Ambrose identified Gog with the Goths, but this association was disputed by Jerome, who argued that Goths were the Geats of Thrace, but that too was disputed by others. "Basically any nation with an attitude or a "G" in their name was associated with Gog, while any of their friends could be associated with Magog," said professor Narrorpor. Modern eschatologists have argued that the proximity of the name 'Iran' to 'Iraq' and the similarity of the names 'Gog' to 'Magog' could not be a coincidence.

The newspaper stuffing, however, seems to finally have unlocked the identification of Gog and Magog. In what appears to be a local community gossip column, the following news was reported:
"Gog Family Reunion Considered A Success"
by Miss Myrtle, 'The Eyes and Ears of the Middle East'
4th moon, under the reign of Ghalac the Just
The Gog family recently celebrated grandfather Gogs 147th birthday at the Wadi Shemoth Park. It was well-attended with plenty of tendrils and bread for everyone to eat. Since grandfather Gog has been a tee-totaler following his unfortunate mule accident, most of the festivities were located downstream a bit, where eldest son Magog was quite liberal in offering 'wine' and olive oil to everyone who joined the party. Women, of course, are not allowed in public amongst the people of ChmlgTksv (pronounced Chm-lg-Tks-v), so Miss Myrtle is relying on her brother Hamed for most of the information on this event. Hamed, however, seemed to be quite the recipient of Magog's beneficence, if you know what I mean, so I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this report.
Gog and Magog were joined by a number of their long-distance family members, MightGog and DidGog from the lower basin region of ChmlgTksv, as well as Woulda/Coulda/ShouldaGogged, from the far western quarter of Phrygia. Most astonishing was the presence of that good for nothing slouch of a Gog, Problywon’tnevergitaroundtoGoggin’. “How in the world he ever dragged hisself out here to be a part of anything is beyond me,” remarked Willgog, a local cousin, "Heck, I think he just accidentally wandered by and shimmied over to Magog's still and started acting like he meant to show up all along." Aside from that controversy and a small scuffle that broke out resulting in only a dozen or so deaths, most of the participants agreed with cute little OughttoGog who said, "And a good time was had by all."*

All of the archeologists agreed that this artice was the first indisputable evidence that Gog and MaGog were actual persons, however uncouth and low brow. Professor bin Tekel went as far to say, "If there were only more people like Miss Myrtle and less people like Ezekiel writing in antiquity, then we might actually understand some of their references a bit more." Unfortunately professor bin Tekel was immediately stoned after making this comment, since it appears to dis the prophet Ezekiel. Archeologists, however, being an intellectual group, cannot manage the real large stones that are required for an effective stoning, so professor bin Tekel is reported to be recuperating well in a local clinic.

*Editor's Note: Some conjectures in the translation of Miss Myrtle's article have been made necessary because it appears that salt, ash, and goat dung can only go so far in preserving cheap newsprint, leaving the newspaper with gaping holes. The comic page, however, was entirely preserved. It seems that Rex Morgan, M.D. had gotten caught up in a murder investigation that continues today in that serial comic; Marmaduke was just as rowdy and uncontrollable then as he is now; and readers were still protesting the absence of a strip called "Calvin and Hobbes," which had been discontinued four centuries prior.

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